Global Classrooms: Cantabria
FundaciÃ³n Marcelino BotÃn
It was created in 1964 by Marcelino BotÃn Sanz de Sautuola and his wife Carmen Yllera. Its aims are educational, scientific, cultural and social with the intention of encouraging a fairer, freer, more efficient, and more responsible society, in Spain and worldwide.
The head office of the Foundation is located in the city of Santander (Cantabria) in the house where the palaeontologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, grandfather of the Foundation's founder, lived with his family. This building, in the city centre, houses the offices, management, auditorium, conference room, archives and library.
The Foundation has three additional venues: an exhibition hall, located near its head office; Villa Iris, built in 1913, where art exhibitions and workshops are held; and the Promontorio, the house built from 1915 to 1918 where Emilio BotÃn-Sanz de Sautuola lived with his family.
The Foundation Programmes
It carries out programmes in the following fields:
- Rural Development
- Observatory and Analysis of Trends
- Research and Documentation Centre and Library
- Other collaborations
In 2004 the Foundation began to work specifically in the educational field. As an educational agent that is rooted in the community, it is conscious of the need to act in conjunction with others, to deal with the educational challenge that we are faced with. From the outset, we work closely with the Educational Council of the Regional Government of Cantabria, and with other official bodies with experience in this context. We make proposals to fulfill the educational needs of young children, within the framework of school, family and society in the 21st century, where constant changes take place, and so many open contradictions are apparent.
Our mission in education is to research, create, implement, support and evaluate the resources and teaching techniques that could help children and young people nowadays to become self-motivating, responsible, mutually supportive and competent (both academically, emotionally and socially) and also to involve, in this Project, the adults who are their frame of reference.
Responsible Education: The Applied Teaching Experience
It is the objective of Responsible Education, as we have called this Applied Teaching Experience, to promote in children and young people a well-rounded and healthy growth, by taking into account the physical, psychological and social aspects of each individual, in order to ensure balance and well-being, positive academic achievement â€“ and, in addition, to develop protective elements that will serve as a preventive strategy against the type of risks that are likely to present themselves nowadays at an increasingly early stage in life (risks such as: violence, intolerance, failure, drugs, etc.)
Lines of Approach
Since our Applied Experience was launched, in 2004, the number of participants has grown and the different initiatives within the Project have also developed and expanded. The 4 lines of approach are related and pursue the same educational objective. However, different resources, programmes and levels of intensity have been employed in developing them.
Involving a very considerable number of participants, but carried out with less intensity.
To date, 80 schools are involved in our Project (37% of the total number of infant and primary education centres). These include 853 teachers and 16,552 pupils and their families. We currently work with children from 3 to 12 years old â€“ but as a pilot experience we are implementing the Model United Nations: Global Classrooms Programme in the following five Secondary Schools across Cantabria with students from 13 to 14 years old.
Specifically, Global Classrooms promotes students personal and social skills improving their English language skills at the same time and giving them opportunities to:
- Promote self-esteem and empathy for others
- Develop their active listening skills
- Become expert researchers as they investigate problems related to specific countries/interest groups and issues
- Develop a personal view of, and commitment to, a positive future and an understanding of the changes needed to bring it about
- Acquire skills of negotiation and consensus building as they role-play representatives of a particular country or interest group
- Promote responsible decision-making
- Manage emotions and behaviours to achieve oneÂ´s goals
- Identify international, national and local strategies for community development;
- Develop social skills, public-speaking and debating skills as they articulate "their" country's/interest group's stand on issues ranging from global warming to waste management;
- Engage in critical thinking as they are challenged to take into account the views and opinions of the many other governments and interest groups represented at the Model UN conference; and,
- Learn to respect others' views as they interact with people who are different from themselves.
- Usage of cooperative learning methodology
So as to implement this programme, the Foundation is recruiting and training Fulbright scholars to help developing the programme and working as Teacher Assistants in the schools. In addition, other agents working within the local communities are being invited to participate in the Project.
It is an innovatory education project that aims to develop, research and analyse the results of using, in an intensive and organized fashion, a variety of resources and strategies to stimulate the global development of children, and of directly involving their families, schools and communities in the process.
Three educational centres take part in this enterprise by applying it to different areas of learning (language, physical education, music, arts,...) and participating in a number of complementary activities which sought the involvement of families and the community. The centres are: the semiprivate school Sagrados Corazones in Sierrapando- Torrelavega, the public school Marcial Solana in La Concha de Villaescusa and the State Secondary School Nuestra SeÃ±ora de los Remedios in Guarnizo, where we continue to offer support and close supervision to State school pupils who attend this secondary school.
The main objectives of this project are: to foster pupils' overall growth to maturity in a variety of intellectual, emotional and social facets of their personalities; to improve the quality of education, with positive effects on the atmosphere of the centre, and to encourage communication amongst educators, pupils and families.
A social fact that we cannot neglect is that we spend more and more of our time in front of screens (television, internet, video games, cell phones, etc.) and yet, we are still a long way from being truly literate in audiovisual language. We need to learn, both adults and children, to refine our ability to decode and understand the messages that reach us via our screens in order to be able to subsequently take a clear, personal stance with regard to them. If we neglect working with children to improve their audiovisual literacy from a young age, we will be leaving them alone and defenceless against the enormous amounts of not always positive information they receive continually through their screens.
Our goal in this line of work is to research, devise, create and disseminate enjoyable, fun to use, audiovisual tools for children and young people that are, at the same time, intelligent, beneficial and educative.
Research and study
The need to continue growing, innovating and advancing meant that in 2007 the FundaciÃ³n Marcelino BotÃn directed its sights on the situation in both Spain and the rest of the world, seeking to find other real projects and trials, similar or not to Cantabria's one, examine how they were carried out and learn from their experience.
We set up an international group, consisting of experts from a variety of European countries (Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden) and the United States of America, to work together with the Foundation, researching, reviewing and collecting a variety of international educational trials related to the needs and well-rounded development of children and young people. The result of this work is the report "Social and Emotional Education. An International Analysis" you can find in a Joint International Platform accessible on the website.
Further information on the Foundation: http://www.fundacionmbotin.org